Entertainment Weekly - 07/14/1995
"...The most memorable treatment of extramarital romance in movie history..." -- Rating: A-
Total Film - 05/01/2000
"...This 1946 romantic drama still packs an emotional punch. David Lean's direction is assured, the script is poignant, and the performances are superb..."
Sight and Sound - 06/01/2001
"...[An] expert adaptation....[With] elegant cinematography..."
Empire - 09/01/2007 5 stars out of 5 -- "Lean's direction and Noel Coward's expertly crafted script are letter-perfect..."
Though he might be best remembered for sweeping epics such as DOCTOR ZHIVAGO and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, renowned British director David Lean began his film career with small-scale character studies based on the plays of Noel Coward. Lean's fourth film, BRIEF ENCOUNTER--which was also his fourth and final collaboration with Coward--adapts the playwright's heartbreaking tale of two ordinary people caught up in the extraordinary power of love. Laura (Celia Johnson) is a seemingly happy, middle-class housewife who meets the equally married physician Alec (a young Trevor Howard in only his third screen role) when he removes a speck of dust from her eye at a London railway station. The pair soon find themselves drawn together through weekly meetings at the station cafe, their casual encounters blooming into a chaste love affair marked by intimate conversation, longing glances--and the tragic realization that neither of them will be able to break the bonds of social propriety that keep them wedded to other people. Seen by some as quintessentially English, Lean's achingly lovely exploration of the conflicting demands of personal happiness and social responsibility remains nonetheless universal and timeless. Johnson and Howard's nuanced performances, Robert Krasker's shadowy cinematography, and a soundtrack of hauntingly romantic Rachmaninov piano concertos only add to the film's aura of quiet desperation.
Character Study |
Doomed Lovers |
Love Affairs |
Love Story |
Railway Travel |
Tear Jerker |
Theatrical Release |
Filmed in England. The railway station used as a filming location still exists in Carnforth, Lancashire.
G.E. Calthrop was the art supervisor to Noel Coward.
Stanley Lambourne and Desmond Dew were the sound recordists and Harry Miller was the sound editor.
Academy Award Nominations: 3, including Best Director, Best Screenplay.